Johnston to play No.1 for Souths in NRL

South Sydney excitement machine Alex Johnston has a chance to put his State of Origin omission behind him when he fills in for Queensland star Greg Inglis at fullback on Friday night.

Just four games will be played in a shortened NRL round.

Despite making his Kangaroos debut three weeks ago, Johnston was overlooked for a spot on the NSW wing by Parramatta flyer Will Hopoate.

Having made no secret of the fact that he harbours an ambition to play fullback at some point in his career, the 20-year-old was named there by coach Michael Maguire on Tuesday with Inglis on Origin duties.

“He fills in there a little bit at training sometimes and he’s a good talker at the back there,” teammate Thomas Burgess said.

“He’s obviously learning from a good player in GI. I think he’ll do a great job for us.”

The defending premiers will be out for revenge against an Eels side that pulled their pants down 29-16 in round four.

Parramatta have won just one game since and now occupy last rung on the ladder.

The Rabbitohs have been only marginally better, winning just two of their past six.

“We’ve got that (loss) in the back of our minds, I think,” Burgess said.

“This season anyone can beat anyone. It doesn’t matter where you are on the table. It depends who turns up on the day. It’s all mental.”

Joel Reddy takes Johnston’s wing spot, while forward Jason Clark makes his return from injury.

For the Eels, Hopoate has been replaced by rookie John Folau and Junior Paulo comes back from suspension.

In Saturday night’s Wests Tigers-North Queensland fixture at Campbelltown, Matt Lodge and Dene Halatau get the nod with Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah away on Origin duty.

The Cowboys have also been impacted heavily in the representative period.

Ray Thompson, Ben Hannant and Sam Hoare start for Origin stars Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou.

Meanwhile, an unaffected Canberra side host a depleted Bulldogs outfit that have four players in the NSW team.

Tim Lafai makes a return from injury, while Moses Mbye partners Josh Reynolds in the halves.

Blues second-rower Beau Scott is the only big-name missing from Newcastle’s side that take on a baby Broncos side that has five players in the Queensland team.

Coach Wayne Bennett named 21-year-old Joe Boyce to make his NRL debut having been named on the bench.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!